I should have known it was going to be a weird flight when the captain introduced himself as A-rod. Short, round and graying, he stood in the galley massaging the shoulders of a tense looking flight attendant. When the agent walked on board with paperwork, the flight attendant quickly slid out of A-rod’s reach and eagerly asked. “Ready to board?”
Boarding, for a flight attendant, is the most hectic and difficult phase of flight, and would you believe we’re not even getting paid until the aircraft door is closed and the airplane backs away from the gate! It’s true. What makes it stressful is the pressure to get full flights staffed with minimum crew out on time. No longer are there extra flight attendants floating around to help passengers the way there once was years ago. Either we’re setting up a galley or keeping an eye on our exit doors. And by the time a full load settles into their seats and flight attendants can finally move freely up and down the aisle, we’re usually just a few minutes away from taxiing out.
Enter the cat lady. I spotted her right away during the boarding process. Now I love cats. I even own a sixteen pound Maine Coon named Gatsby, so I’m a bit of a cat lady myself. What I don’t love are – not passengers who bring on board pets that don’t fit under the seat in front of them (it happens), but passengers who don’t tell us when their pets don’t fit under the seat until the last minute, like a woman did on a flight a few years ago! That cat wound up in the first class coat closet for take off. So when I spotted this newest cat lady with a large hard case carrier, I asked if it would fit under the seat in front of her.